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Book: Islamic Interpretive Tradition and Gender Justice

The essays in this collection offer insights into key issues in Islamic feminist scholarship, ranging from interreligious love, child marriage, polygamy, and divorce to stoning, segregation, seclusion, and gender hierarchies.

Since the 1980s, Muslim women reformers have made great strides in critiquing and reinterpreting the Islamic tradition. Yet these achievements have not produced a significant shift in the lived experience of Islam, particularly with respect to equality and justice in Muslim families. A new approach is needed: one that examines the underlying instruments of tradition and explores avenues for effecting change.

In Islamic Interpretive Tradition and Gender Justice leading intellectuals and emerging researchers grapple with the problem of entrenched positions within Islam that affect women, investigating the processes by which interpretations become authoritative, the theoretical foundations upon which they stand, and the ways they have been used to inscribe and enforce gender limitations. Together, they argue that the Islamic interpretive tradition displays all the trappings of canonical texts, canonical figures, and canon law – despite the fact that Islam does not ordain religious authorities who could sanction processes of canonization. Through this lens, the essays in this collection offer insights into key issues in Islamic feminist scholarship, ranging from interreligious love, child marriage, polygamy, and divorce to stoning, segregation, seclusion, and gender hierarchies.

Rooting their analysis in the primary texts and historical literature of Islam, contributors to Islamic Interpretive Tradition and Gender Justice contest oppressive interpretative canons, subvert classical methodologies, and provide new directions in the ongoing project of revitalizing Islamic exegesis and its ethical and legal implications.

Contributors include Omaima Abou-Bakr (Cairo University), Amira Abou-Taleb (American University in Cairo), Asma Afsaruddin (Indiana University), Doris Decker (University of Marburg), Sarah Eltantawi (Evergreen State College), Aisha Geissinger (Carleton University), Amina Inloes (Islamic College in London), Hoda El-Saadi (American University in Cairo), and Mulki Al-Sharmani (University of Helsinki).

About the Author (s)

Nevin Reda is assistant professor of Muslim studies at Emmanuel College of Victoria University in the University of Toronto and author of The al-Baqara Crescendo: Understanding the Qur’an’s Style, Narrative Structure, and Running Themes.

Yasmin Amin is a PhD candidate at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter.

Table of Contents


1 Islamic Feminist Tafsir and Qur’anic Ethics: Rereading Divorce Verses 23
Omaima Abou-Bakr and Mulki Al-Sharmani

2 Tafsir, Tradition, and Methodological Contestations: The Case of Polygamy 67
Nevin Reda

3 Reading the Qur’an through a Gendered, Egalitarian Lens: Revisiting the Concept of Wilaya in Q. 9:71 100
Asma Afsaruddin


4 How Did Eve Get Married? Two Twelver Shi?i ?adith Reports 127
Amina Inloes

5 Female Figures, Marginality, and Qur’anic Exegesis in Ibn al-Jawzi’s ?ifat al-?afwa 151
Aisha Geissinger

6 Constructing the Image of the Model Muslim Woman: Gender Discourse in Ibn Sa?d’s Kitab al-?abaqat al-kubra 179
Amira Abou-Taleb

7 The Love of Prophet Mu?ammad for the Jewish Woman Ray?ana bint Zayd: Transformation and Continuity in Gender Conceptions in Classical Islamic Historiography and A?adith Literature 209
Doris Decker


8 Fiqh Rulings and Gendering the Public Space: The Discrepancy between Written Formality and Daily Reality 261
Hoda El-Saadi

9 Mysterious Legislation: ?Umar ibn al-Kha??ab’s Role in the Legalization of the Stoning Punishment in the Sunni Islamic Tradition 288
Sarah Eltantawi

10 Revisiting the Issue of Minor Marriages: Multidisciplinary Ijtihad on Contemporary Ethical Problems 314

Bibliographic Information

Title: Islamic Interpretive Tradition and Gender Justice, Processes of Canonization, Subversion, and Change

Author(s): Yasmin Amin, Nevin Reda

Publisher: McGill-Queen’s University Press

 Language: English

Length: 424 pages

ISBN: 9780228001638

Pub. Date:  December 2020

About Ali Teymoori

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